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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 September 2008
Swansea rail workers
Fighting for a living wage
SIXTEEN train cleaners, members of the RMT, have been involved in a one-day strike for better pay and conditions at Swansea's High Street railway station. The cleaners are employed by ISS, a contractor for First Great Western, a company notorious for bad pay and poor conditions.
Alec Thraves spoke to RMT rep Ian Fynch on the picket line:
"At the moment our lowest-paid members are getting just £5.82 an hour, with no shift allowance. This means if they work a Sunday they only get the bare time, seven hours, which is wrong!
"We are asking for the same increase as the First Great Western workers, 5.1%, because we are doing exactly the same work as them. Swansea is the only depot out of the three Great Western depots in the country being run by ISS and wages at the other two are around £25,000 a year! These workers deserve the same because they are doing exactly the same work as those depots."
Another picket, Laurence explained the difficulties of the job: "As well as watering the trains, cleaning the mess in the toilets and mopping up vomit, we also have to put up with a lot of abuse from customers.
"One of the lads recently tried to wake up a drunken passenger who had remained on the train at Swansea. He was abused and had the passenger's dog set on him. When trains come in late we have to try and clean around passengers who have already boarded and end up getting a mouthful off them as well."
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
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In The Socialist 17 September 2008:
It's time to fight back!
Socialist Party editorial
Capitalist crisis - Karl Marx was right
No to racism: Yes to decent jobs, homes & services!
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist candidate gains 40% of vote, stuns Usdaw leaders
Conflict in Georgia - independent position needed
Brown's feeble fuel package
Labour Party conference protest
Protest at war and occupation
Welcome to the real Manchester
Fighting city needs a fighting party
Panicky MPs turn on Labour
Privatisation and closure
No to post office closures
Protesters tackle Metro privatisation
Socialist Party feature
Middle East: End imperialist aggression!
Socialist Party workplace news
London bus strike: "Showing them our power"
Pickets cheer in West London
Ford workers meet to defend jobs
Journalists win union recognition victory
2008 Trades Union Congress: Pressure from below begins to show
Swansea rail workers fighting for a living wage
International socialist news and analysis
Interview with Cindy Sheehan: "Some kind of populist uprising needs to happen"
Scotland: Tactical questions for local government pay battle
Socialist Party review
'Bob Marley' reviewed by Jason Toynbee
The Socialist 17 September 2008 |
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